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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 1/18/2023

Perfect Game Softball 18u Winter World Series

Dave Durbala     

BURLINGTON, IOWA - Perfect Game Softball 18u Winter World Series


Wisconsin Bandits Gold 18u - Heintz earned the Champions Cup and were led by MVPitcher  Megan Button (2025 Middleton, WI). The RHP Button, topping out at 60 mph, utilized a fastball, change-up, drop, curve and rise to record 19 strikeouts in her 18 innings of work.  Button was successful due in part to an excellent defense behind her, but also due to her ability to change speeds and hit her spots with all her pitches. This was not any better on display than in the championship series when Button picked up the win in game one, only giving up 2 hits over five innings for the win. Then coming in to close out game two, pitching 1.2 innings of one hit ball to earn the save.  With a smooth delivery that doesn't waste any motion, Button should project to pick up velocity, but more importantly, greater movement as she matures and gains strength over the next couple of seasons. Added strength and velocity will translate to increased spin rates, added movement.


Earning the MVP Award was Wisconsin Bandits Sierra Thomas (2023 Nashotah, WI). The RHH University of Minnesota Duluth commit displayed a solid, fundamentally sound set-up that allows for  movement to generate  bat speed and power in her swing. Even if fooled on a pitch, and got out in front, Thomas was able to keep her hands back and still drive the ball.  Thomas hit at a .619 clip, with 13 hits that included three doubles and two home runs while knocking in 13 and scoring 9 times. Thomas saved her best for last, going a combined 4 for 7 with seven rbi’s in the championship series that included a walk off grand slam to finish the tournament.


Other notable performances included Iowa Bandits, Devin Simon (2023 Cascade, IA). Simon, a University of Iowa commit, displayed both speed and power this weekend. Simon collected 9 hits that included three doubles, a triple and three home runs.  She knocked in nine while also scoring nine runs, finishing with a .643 batting average, after going 9 for 14.  Simon gets into great position to allow herself the chance to hit every pitch she swings at, very hard, with an attack angle that gets the ball in the air. With the speed and power she displays, she should have the opportunity to be an impact player for the Hawkeyes once she gets on campus.


Ava Curry (2024 Oskaloosa, IA) did some damage this weekend. Curry, a L/R catcher/utility for Nebraska Gold 319 Berning, has a silky smooth swing and speed that causes problems for defenses.  Curry collected nine hits that included four doubles and two home runs, while knocking in six from the lead-off spot and scored 11 runs. Curry displays good barrel awareness and swing mechanics that allows her to hit the ball hard to all fields. Although primarily used as a catcher this tournament, doing an excellent job, she will give coaches at the next level options.  This young lady, with good arm strength and speed, has shown the ability to play infield as well as all three outfield positions.


Maddy McDermott (2023 Walcott, IA), playing for Southeast Iowa Allstars 18u Gold Miller, continues to show she is a two way threat. The University of Northern Iowa commit finished number 4 in hitting, and number one in pitching, on the tournament Top Performers list. McDermott, as of recently, has been on an extra base tear, and this tournament was no different as of her 10 hits, she had seven doubles and a home run. She collected 9 rbi’s and scored six runs. In the circle, McDermott worked 20.2 innings and struck out 27. With her full assortment of pitches, and a top velocity of 61 mph, she was able to keep batters off balance and did not give up any big innings.




Hilary Blomberg (2023 Verona, WI) a RHH University of Wisconsin commit, caught, played short and pitched for Wisconsin Bandits Gold 18u - Heintz this weekend. In the circle. Blomberg wasn't trying to finesse the ball across the plate. Topping out at 62 mph, she went after hitters, moving the ball to both sides of the plate and collected five strikeouts in her six innings of work. At the plate, Blomberg looked much more comfortable. Keeping the ball off the ground appeared to be a priority for Blomberg, and she did it well. Of her 8 hits, Blomberg finished with two doubles and four bombs for 8 runs knocked in, and ten runs scored. Even though she was aggressive at the plate, Blomberg showed a good understanding of her strike zone, didn’t chase bad pitches and was able to pick up four walks.


Finley Hall (2023 West Liberty, IA) is a L/R catcher for Southeast Iowa Allstars 18u Gold Miller. As a catcher, Hall displays good glove work, the ability and willingness to block pitches, an arm and release that allows her to challenge base stealers, and the ability to lead on the field.  At the plate, Hall started from a solid athletic base in the box and showed discipline at the plate that helped her draw four walks on her way to a .684 OBP. When she did swing, Hall barreled up several pitches, collecting 8 hits with two doubles, a triple and a home run for seven rbi’s, while scoring 9 runs.  This uncommitted Senior has the ability and tools to play at the next level and could be an impact player in the right program.


In the circle, several pitchers showed up and went to work. Top Gun 05 Stl RHP Lorin Boutte (2024 St. Charles, MO), pitched one of the best games of the weekend when she worked a six inning, 17 strike out no hitter during pool play. Boutte, with a smooth repeatable delivery, topped out at 59 mph and teamed her fastball with a rise, curve and change-up to total 31 strikeouts in her 14.1 innings of work. Boutte had hitters swinging and missing at her rise, and was able to throw all her pitches, to both sides of the plate, for strikes to keep hitters guessing.


Madison Oetzmann (2023 Urbandale, IA) is no stranger to Scout Note recognition. Pitching for Iowa Bandits, the RHP Minnesota State commit, appeared to be a different pitcher this tournament, as her velocity only topped out at 58 mph, but her spin pitches appeared to have more movement. She possessed the same control as we have come to expect, and the results, as always, were impressive with only one walk and 35 strikeouts in her 17.2 innings of work. Also, referred to as a work in progress, Oetzmann is developing a drop ball that had several hitters swinging over the top of it due to its sharp, late break. With the addition of another quality pitch, Oetzmann will only improve her chances for success at the next level.


Pitching for Wisconsin Bandits Gold 18u - Heintz, Audrey Schumacher (2023 Fond Du Lac, WI) is a pitch to contact type pitcher. Schumacher, topping out with a velocity of 55 mph, relies on keeping hitters off balance with change of speed and pitch location. Having a very good defense behind her was also an asset. With a four-pitch mix that included a fastball, curve, change-up and rise, Schumacher was able to strike out 10 in her 15.2 innings of work. She showed the ability to throw all her pitches for strikes to both sides of the plate, generating velocity and spin with good use of her lower half.


Emily Koranda (2025 Marion, IA) is a RHP for Nebraska Gold 319 Berning. Koranda, utilizing a rise, drop, change-up and fastball that topped out at 60 mph, worked 16.1 innings and recorded 28 strikeouts. Several K’s were the result of swinging and missing her rise and not being able to hold off swinging at her change-up. Koranda also helped her team at the plate by picking up 8 hits that included two doubles and a home run for 8 runs knocked in, while also scoring 6 runs. Koranda may be one to follow over the next couple of years. Already displaying good velocity, good ball movement, and power at the plate, she may find herself as being one of the more highly recruited athletes in her class.


  • Dave Durbala